Worried about warts on your skin? 9 ways to get rid of them

A small, fleshy growth on the skin or mucous membrane is known as warts. Here’s how to get rid of warts, according to a skincare expert.
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Wart on your skin is not harmful! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 16 Feb 2024, 12:00 pm IST
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Warts are small, noncancerous growths on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can appear anywhere on the body and vary in size and shape. HPV enters the skin through tiny cuts or breaks, prompting the rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of the skin. While not directly linked to any specific condition, factors like weakened immunity or contact with an infected person elevate the risk. Though it doesn’t hurt, many people want to remove it. If you’re also dealing with it and want to know how to get rid of warts, we are here to help.

What causes warts?

“Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary culprit behind warts. This virus enters through minor skin cuts, triggering rapid cell growth on the skin’s surface,” says Cosmetologist Ritu Khariyan. Factors that increase the risk of contracting HPV and developing warts include:

  • Individuals with sensitive, damaged, or oily skin are more susceptible to HPV infection.
  • A weakened immune system reduces the body’s ability to fight off viral infections, making individuals more susceptible to warts.
  • Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, increasing the likelihood of developing warts.
  • Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during puberty or pregnancy, may contribute to the development of warts.
  • Certain strains of HPV are transmitted through sexual contact, increasing the risk of genital warts.
  • Exposure to warm and humid environments, such as swimming pools, saunas, and gyms, can facilitate the spread of HPV.

5 home remedies to remove warts

If you are looking for natural ways to get rid of warts, you can try these home remedies that can help remove warts:

1. Apple cider vinegar

The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar can help dissolve warts. Apply a small amount of vinegar directly to the wart using a cotton swab and cover it with a bandage. Repeat this process daily until the wart disappears.

apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is very beneficial for your health. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

2. Chemical treatments

Over-the-counter medications containing salicylic acid can effectively remove warts by gradually breaking down the layers of the wart. Follow the instructions provided with the product for the best results.

3. Honey

Honey possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it a natural remedy for warts. Apply honey directly to the affected area and cover it with a bandage. Regular application may help eliminate the wart over time.

4. Aloe vera

Aloe vera gel has antimicrobial properties and promotes skin healing, making it useful for treating warts. Apply fresh aloe vera gel to the wart and cover it with a bandage. Repeat this process daily until the wart disappears.

5. Imiquimod cream

Prescription-strength imiquimod cream stimulates the immune system to fight off HPV and treat genital or anal warts. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully when using this medication for optimal results.

If home remedies for warts aren’t effective, or if you have a large or stubborn wart, consult a dermatologist. They can offer treatments such as prescription medications, laser therapy, or surgical removal.

How to get rid of warts?

While warts are generally harmless, they can be uncomfortable. Here are 9 ways to get rid of warts that your doctor may recommended by Khariyan:

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1. Over-the-counter treatments

Many over-the-counter treatments, such as salicylic acid or cryotherapy kits, can effectively remove warts. Follow the instructions carefully and be patient, as it may take several weeks for results to show.

Woman applying cream on face
Salicylic acid has many benefits for the skin. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Duct tape method

Covering the wart with duct tape may help suffocate the virus and encourage it to go away. Keep the duct tape on for about six days, then remove it, soak the area in water, and gently scrub the wart with a pumice stone or emery board. Repeat until the wart disappears.

3. Medications

Your doctor may prescribe medications such as topical creams containing retinoids, which help break down the wart tissue and stimulate the immune system to fight the virus.

4. Cryotherapy

This involves freezing the wart using liquid nitrogen, causing it to blister and eventually fall off. Multiple sessions may be required for complete removal.

5. Laser therapy

Laser treatment targets and destroys the blood vessels feeding the wart, causing it to shrink and eventually disappear. It’s often used for larger or stubborn warts.

6. Surgical removal

For particularly large or resistant warts, surgical excision may be necessary. This involves cutting out the wart and surrounding tissue under local anesthesia.

7. Immunotherapy

This approach involves injecting a substance into the wart to stimulate the immune system and help it recognize and attack the virus more effectively.

celeb-inspired cosmetic surgery
Consult with your doctor to determine the right treatment for wart removal. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

8. Electrosurgery

In this procedure, the wart is burned off using an electric current. It’s a quick and effective method, typically performed under anesthesia.

Also read: Skin lesions: What causes this skin condition and how to treat it

9. Cantharidin treatment

Cantharidin is a chemical compound derived from blister beetles that is applied to the wart, causing it to blister and lift away from the skin. It’s usually done in a dermatologist’s office.

5 lifestyle tips to prevent warts

While warts can be challenging to prevent entirely, several measures can reduce the risk of contracting HPV and developing warts:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water to reduce the risk of HPV transmission.
  • Refrain from touching or scratching warts to prevent spreading the virus to other parts of the body or other individuals.
  • Wear sandals or flip-flops in communal showers, pools, and locker rooms to minimise exposure to HPV.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep to strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of HPV infection.
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly during sexual activity to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted strains of HPV.

Abide by these tips and consult with a doctor for better treatment to remove warts!

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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